Gareth Southgate’s men will face the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo in their five-nation group. They will qualify for the finals if they finish in one of the top two places in Group A and have a fallback too, a play-off later in 2019, as a result of winning their Nations League group.Scotland also have a play-off backstop, in this unprecedently complicated qualification process, but will have to get past both Belgium and Russia if they are to qualify directly from Group I. Alex McLeish’s team will also face Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.
Northern Ireland face an even tougher challenge, being drawn against both the Netherlands and Germany in Group C, as well as Estonia and Belarus. Michael O’Neill’s side also suffered a stroke of bad luck in the process. Their neighbours the Republic of Ireland were initially drawn in Group C but were switched due to a rule that prevents more than two host countries competing in any one group. The Irish are now in Group D where they will face Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.
Wales will face Croatia in Group E, but have a decent chance of claiming a top two finish with the other sides paired against them being Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan.
Qualification begins in 2019 and takes place on the following dates: 21–26 March, 7–8 & 10–11 June, 5–10 September, 10–15 October & 14–19 November 2019. England will be exempt from the dates in June due to taking part in the Natinos League finals in Lisbon, the draw for which will be made on Monday.
Groups in full
Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo
Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus
Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar
Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan
Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta
Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, Latvia
Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra
Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazahkstan, San Marino
Group J: Italy, Bosnia & Herz, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein